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November 18, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Islamic State Killed 300 Former Iraqi Policemen South of Mosul (Reuters)
    Islamic State militants probably killed more than 300 former Iraqi police three weeks ago and buried them in a mass grave near Hammam al-Alil, south of Mosul, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.
    At the site of the mass grave, residents said the victims had been shot or beheaded.
    Witnesses reported seeing the men carried on large trucks, and then hearing automatic gunfire and cries of distress.

Russian Government Spokeswoman Suggests Trump Won Thanks to "the Jews" - Carl Schreck (Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty)
    In an appearance that has triggered accusations of anti-Semitism, Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, suggested on a nationally televised talk show on Sunday that money from Jews played a key role in Trump's win.
    "If you want to know what will happen in America, who do you have to talk to? You have to talk to the Jews, naturally. But of course," Zakharova said, prompting applause from the studio audience.
    Adopting a cartoonish Jewish accent, Zakharova then said, "They told me: 'Marochka (a Russian diminutive for Maria), you understand, of course, we'll donate to Clinton. But we'll donate twice as much to the Republicans.'"

Palestinians Shoot, Throw Bombs at Palestinian Security Forces (Ma'an News-PA)
    A group of Palestinian youth Thursday night shot and threw bombs at Palestinian security forces near the al-Faraa refugee camp in the West Bank during a protest against the PA's detention of a local resident.

The Islamic State After Mosul - Hassan Hassan (New York Times)
    If the Islamic State loses Mosul, the group has a clearly articulated contingency plan, a strategy it has frequently broadcast on multiple platforms for the past five months: inhiyaz, or temporary retreat, into the desert.
    Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the group's spokesman who was killed by an American airstrike in August, said in May that territorial losses did not mean defeat and that militants would fight until the end and then retreat to the desert, preparing for a comeback, just as they did between 2007 and 2013.
    The writer is a resident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.

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BDS Waning in Canada, Mayors Say During Israel Trip - Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod (Canadian Jewish News)
    The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is waning in Canada, the mayors of Toronto and Montreal said Sunday in Tel Aviv. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said, "We have zero tolerance of racism in any form."
    Toronto Mayor John Tory said that on campuses "they realized [BDS] was not an honest depiction of what is obviously a very complicated situation doesn't square with the facts. Israel is really one of the only countries in the Middle East that respects human rights, that has an approach to a lot of these issues very similar to Canada's, that is a democracy."
    The mayors were joined by a delegation of 70 from Montreal and 50 from Toronto, including city councilors and members of the business and education sectors.

Israel Cybersecurity Tech Helps Catch Online Crooks - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
    NatWest, one of the largest banks in the UK, has deployed Israel's BioCatch technology to prevent online fraud and protect its customers.
    BioCatch's system captures more than 500 points of behavior such as hand-eye coordination, pressure, hand tremors, navigation, scrolling and other finger movements to create unique user profiles.
    This allows BioCatch to distinguish the normal behavior of an authorized user from that of an unauthorized user, as well as to recognize automated BOTs, RATS, malware and other malicious account takeover attacks.
    "The breadth of behavioral biometrics that BioCatch technology can monitor is really impressive and we've already seen many examples of it alerting us to suspicious activity," said Simon McNamara, chief administrative officer of NatWest.
    "The importance of validating a user not only at login but throughout a session as a way to prevent fraud has taken on increasing urgency," said Eyal Goldwerger, the CEO of BioCatch.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S., Iran Clash over Tehran's Testing of Limit in Nuclear Deal - Francois Murphy
    The U.S. and Iran on Thursday clashed openly at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the first time since they signed the nuclear deal last year. The IAEA said Iran's overstepping of the limit on its stock of heavy water for the second time this year risked undermining support for the agreement. "Iran must strictly adhere to all commitments and technical measures for their duration," said U.S. ambassador to the IAEA Laura Holgate. (Reuters)
  • Head of Islamic State "Middle East External Networks" Killed in Airstrike in Raqqa, Syria - Thomas Joscelyn
    "Coalition forces conducted a strike resulting in the death of Iraqi national Abd al-Basit al-Iraqi, who was emir of ISIL's [Islamic State's] Middle East external networks, including against Americans, Turkish and European targets," U.S. Defense Department spokesman Col. John Dorrian announced Wednesday. Abd al-Basit "was a key facilitator for ISIL's external operations routes through Turkey and was responsible for attacks within the Middle East."
        "Along with these external attacks and plots, he has also been connected to convoy, reconnaissance, and facilitation of extremist travel, finances and weapons in the region." His "death degrades and delays ISIL's current plots against regional targets and deprives them of a capable senior manager who provided oversight over many external attacks." The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Long War Journal)
  • Michigan Student Government Resolution to Divest Fails - Nisa Khan
    The University of Michigan Central Student Government on Tuesday voted 34 to 13 to reject a resolution calling on the university to divest its investments in companies "which are involved in socially irresponsible and unethical activities in Palestine." This is the 10th attempt since 2002 to pass a resolution to divest at the university.
        The vote this year was less close than it has been in recent years. Junior Joe Goldberg, a CSG representative, said he voted against the resolution because "this resolution calls for the delegitimization of Israel and that is not what the majority of this campus stands for."  (Michigan Daily)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Defense Minister: Iran's "Aggressive, Fanatic Leaders Are a Threat to the Whole World" - Lahav Harkov
    Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, pointed to Iran's ambitions around the world, and its interventions in Yemen and Syria. "It's a country with crazy ambitions...a country that has very aggressive, extremist, fanatic leaders who are a threat to the whole world. Not long ago, I met with a delegation from the U.S. visiting the region, who went to the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and then here. They said that, in the Arab world, no one is talking about Israel....It's clear that there's an understanding that Israel is not the problem; we're the solution."
        Noting a double standard for Israel and for other countries, he said, "Look at what's happening in the Muslim world. Not one day passed in the region in recent years without 300 people murdered and nearly 1,000 injured. There are all kinds of terrorist acts from Iraq to Sudan, and everyone is quiet about it. Over 6,000 Palestinians were slaughtered two years ago in their largest refugee camp, Yarmuk in Damascus. Was there an international conference? A UN Security Council decision?...The Palestinians know that the West Bank is still the safest place for them."
        Lieberman also noted that much of "the world's donations to the Palestinians goes to funding terrorists' families. The two terrorists who murdered the Fogel family in Itamar - two parents, three children - they're in an Israeli prison, and each of their families gets NIS 12,000 every month. The average salary of a Palestinian teacher is NIS 1,000. They get that for murdering."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Incentivizing Terrorism: Palestinian Authority Allocations to Terrorists and their Families - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Israeli Forces Nab Two Armed Gazans near Border Fence
    IDF forces apprehended two Palestinians with two hand grenades on Thursday night, not far from the Gaza border fence with Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Rejects Palestinian Charges at UN Climate Talks - Sharon Udasin
    Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah attacked Israel at a UN climate conference on Wednesday, claiming that the country is causing damage to the Palestinian environment.
        Rejecting the Palestinian claims, Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Ze'ev Elkin gave an example to demonstrate how the PA is actually polluting the local environment. "A cement factory has been set up in a nature reserve which endangers the surrounding population and the reserve itself. The local population has turned to Israel for assistance as the cement factory is being promoted by the PA through two of Mahmoud Abbas' sons."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Raids Palestinian Charcoal Plants over Pollution - Sue Surkes
    For the first time, Israel on Thursday enforced environmental regulations against Palestinian charcoal plants that cause clouds of polluting smoke to waft over Jewish and Palestinian communities in the northern West Bank.
        The plants create charcoal by the slow burning of piles of wood surrounded by wet straw and soil. The process causes massive amounts of smoke, pollution and strong smells, and is linked to respiratory problems suffered by 25% of the children in the Palestinian town of Ya'bad, west of Jenin, and respiratory illnesses including cancer suffered by 70% of charcoal workers.
        Israeli officials said they were taking action after having issued several warnings to the Palestinian Authority that it would enforce anti-pollution regulations if the authority failed to shut the plants down, Israel Radio reported.
        Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai of the Civil Administration said, "We intend to open a dialogue with the charcoal producers to find technological solutions to lower the risks of charcoal production for workers and residents."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Expanding the Range of Solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland
    The "two-state" solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is based on four assumptions. One, the solution to the conflict should be geographically restricted to the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Two, the solution requires the establishment of a Palestinian state with full sovereignty. Three, the border between Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines. Four, the West Bank and Gaza must constitute a single diplomatic entity. These four assumptions create very limited room for negotiations.
        But if we free ourselves from them and try to look into the entire range of possible solutions, we will find that some other solutions have an outstanding advantage. Among the other solutions, we can talk about a "regional solution" with land swaps between Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the PA; or about a federation between Jordan and the West Bank; or about a functional and not necessarily territorial division between Israel and the Palestinians; or even the plan to annex Area C and establish Palestinian autonomy in the rest of the area. The writer is the former head of Israel's National Security Council. (Ynet News)
  • UNESCO Has Been Used as a Weapon to Wage a Cultural War Against Israel - Dr. Moshe Kantor
    The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently adopted a ruling that erases the Jewish people's historic connection to Jerusalem and its holy sites of the Temple Mount and Western Wall, referring to the two as purely Islamic sites. This is not just an affront to millions of Jews, it is also a denial of Christian history and is deeply offensive to over a billion Christians worldwide.
        UNESCO was intended to promote international cooperation and understanding, but in this instance it has been used as a weapon to wage a cultural war. It has a responsibility to work to strengthen religious co-existence and tolerance rather than facilitating division. We must confront the growing power and dangerous influence of those within the UN's cultural arm who have no interest in tolerance. If UNESCO does not demonstrate the highest level of tolerance for all peoples, religions, nations and cultures, it undermines its own legitimacy. The writer is president of the European Jewish Congress and the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation. (Newsweek-Europe)
  • The West Accepts Palestinian Corruption - Ziva Dahl
    The Abbas family's corruption is a hot topic in the territories, but not in the U.S.  Tareq Abbas, son of the PA president, is a multi-millionaire owning villas in Amman, Beirut, and London. His brother, Yasser, has made a fortune from, among other things, his monopoly sale of U.S.-made cigarettes in the West Bank. The Abbas family's Falcon consortium owns shopping centers, media and insurance companies, and distribution channels for food, cigarettes, cosmetics and other consumer items.
        Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PA received an estimated $25 billion in international financial aid. Instead of promoting peace with Israel and improving the lives of its people, the aid was used to enrich its elites, incite its people against Israel, advocate terrorism, and wage a massive international campaign to demonize, delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state. The writer is a senior fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. (The Hill)

  • Weekend Features

  • Hebrew University's Traditional Farming Project for Ethiopian-Born Seniors - Alon Samach
    Twice a week just after dawn, 20 Ethiopian-born Israeli senior citizens, ages 65 to 93, trek from their apartments to a field on the Hebrew University's Rehovot campus, where each tends his or her own patch of land. In the transition to Israeli life, many Ethiopian seniors have experienced acute culture shock, having grown up working the same land year after year, as their parents and generations before had, going back 1700 years.
        Today they come home after harvesting crops they have tended and grown, returning with baskets full of produce which they share with their children and grandchildren. They are proud at being busy, self-sufficient and providing for their families, while finally being given an opportunity to show off their expertise. Dr. Alon Samach is an Associate Professor of Plant Sciences at the Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Rehovot. (Times of Israel)
  • Three Israeli Startups Raise $38 Million - Tali Tsipori
    In its current financing round, raised $16 million. has developed a platform for computer log analysis for purposes of information security, compliance with regulations, and detecting problems.'s solution is already serving over 1,000 companies in 80 countries.
        SeaLights raised $8 million. The company has developed a cloud platform for continuous quality assurance (QA) tests.
        Siemplify raised $4 million in February and $10 million more recently. It has developed a system called ThreatNexus that manages and analyzes cyber threats in real time. (Globes)

Were the Arabs Indigenous to Mandatory Palestine? - Sheree Roth
(Middle East Quarterly)

  • PA President Mahmoud Abbas said earlier this year, "Our narrative says that we were in this land since before Abraham." To be sure, some Arabs in Mandatory Palestine are descendants of the indigenous occupants. But most of today's Arabic-speakers do not trace their roots back for centuries.
  • In 1938, William B. Ziff, cofounder of Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., wrote The Rape of Palestine, focusing on British policy in Palestine during the mandate period. But what is especially interesting today are his comments on the migration of Arabs.
  • "The Mamelukes imported legions of Georgians and Circassians....Saladin, hard-pressed by the Crusaders, received 150,000 Persians who were given lands in Galilee and the Sidon district....In the 14th century, drought caused the immigration into Palestine of 18,000 'tents' of Yurate Tartars from the Euphrates."
  • "In 1830 the Albanian conqueror Mehemet [Muhammad] Ali colonized Jaffa, Nablus, and Beisan with Egyptian soldiers and their Sudanese allies." In 1844, there were an estimated 13,000 inhabitants of Jaffa, composed of 8,000 Turco-Egyptians, 4,000 Greeks and Armenians, 1,000 Jews and Maronites, and no Arabs. In 1938, Jaffa had a population of "70,000, overwhelmingly Arab, who are largely descendants of the Egyptians and Ethiopians brought in by the conqueror Ibrahim Pasha [Muhammad Ali's son]."
  • "Not until the Zionists had arrived in numbers did the Arab population begin to augment itself. The introduction of European standards of wage and life acted like a magnet on the entire Near East. Abruptly, Palestine became an Arab center of attraction....It is precisely in the vicinity of these Jewish villages that Arab development is most marked."
  • "Whole villages in the Hauran [area of southwestern Syria] have been emptied of their people, who are drifting into Palestine. Count De Martel, French high commissioner for Syria, asserted in the summer of 1934 that even Arab merchants were moving from Damascus to Palestine because of the prosperity there....Such calculations as are available show an Arab immigration for the single year 1933 of at least 64,000 souls."
  • Robert Kennedy, reporting from Palestine for the Boston Post in 1948, also noted the influx of Arab immigration into Palestine: "The Jews point with pride to the fact that over 500,000 Arabs in the 12 years between 1932 and 1944 came into Palestine to take advantage of living conditions existing in no other Arab state."

        See also Egyptian Emigres in the Levant of the 19th and 20th Centuries - Gideon Kressel and Reuven Aharoni
    On March 23, 2012, the Hamas minister of the interior and of national security, Fathi Hammad, stated that "half of the Palestinians are Egyptian and the other half are Saudis."  (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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